Vision of Peace Isaiah 11:1-10 Second Sunday of Advent

Could it be?  Yes, it could.  Something’s coming, something good, if I can wait!  Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is, but it is gonna be great.  

In the first act of the musical, West Side Story, the impossibly hopeful and youthful protagonist, Tony, sings the song called “Something’s Coming.”  You may recognize the lyrics, written by Stephen Sondheim.  Advent shares much of what this song is about:  expectation, excitement and a sense that around the corner there is something good.  More than the happy times on Christmas morning, or even the stories of shepherds and wise men, the good that Isaiah points to is a realized peace envisioned in natural enemies lying next to each other.  Isaiah writes about lions and wolves lying with lambs and babies playing safely with poisonous snakes.  The “something coming” in today’s scripture is just what Isaiah describes, a vision emblematic of humanity’s true future and more real than our violent warring culture might predict.

The expectation and hope of this season is what everyone wants all year round.  We want to feel good about our lives and the people around us.  We all remark about how people look different this time of year.  It’s like everyone all at once sees the truth of what Isaiah saw–that there will come a day when enemies will be friends and babies will be safe and humanity will rest from all the evil it has produced.  On that day, the peaceable kingdom will be real.  Perhaps, this Advent season, we might cultivate a longing for peace that would result in our working for it.  The United Church of Christ long ago declared itself a Just Peace Church.  If you want to do more than just long for peace go to ucc.org and search for “Just Peace.”  You’ll find resources and a way to imagine “something good” into reality, and make a difference in our world.

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Live With Hope (First Sunday of Advent) Matthew 24:36-44

Life is short:  it withers like grass and the flower fades (I Peter 1:24) or, as Matthew reminds us, we never know when the Son of God might return.  All of us are called to attention, to be mindful of our lives and to live every moment as if God will call us home today.  This is the message for the church on this first day of Advent.  Yet Advent is the season of waiting, expecting, hoping.  How do we look forward and be reminded of our mortality at the same time?

The answer to that question might be that the future depends so much on what we do in this very moment.  The quality of our life, the truth of our faith, does depend on the investment we make in the only thing we can really do anything about and that is the moment that we breathe into right now. Oh, we can live in expectation and do our deeds enacting hope, but unless we love in this instant, how do we know we will love in the next hour?  We cannot control what has happened in the past or what may happen in the future; we can only live in the minute we live in.  As Christians we do that with faith.

The first Sunday in Advent means that in most of  our churches we will be lighting the Advent wreath’s first candle–the candle of “hope.”  Hope is also the name of a UCC church in Alexandria, Virginia, which offers these words of welcome on its website:

More than anything, we hope you can be real when you visit us.  No need to pretend–no       need to be “churchy.”  If you’re happy, sad, worried, bursting to celebrate, or at the               edge–God can hold it in worship.  That’s hope.

This Advent, may we all be real and present to each moment in our lives.  Live into your future by loving your present.  Live with hope.

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Back Bay Mission Opportunity

If you are interested in doing something which can change lives, Terry and Jeanette Tangeman will be leading a trip to Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, MS, from March 5 to 11, 2017.  You are invited to come along.

No particular skills are needed as there are many areas where your hands and feet can do an amazing amount of good.  Interested persons must be at least 14 years of age.  The total cost is $300, not including transportation.  A $50 deposit (refundable until December 5) will hold your space.

Contact Jeanette Tangeman at 419-234-7935 or tangeman@ohiolink.net.  Checks may be sent to Jeanette Tangeman at 19595 Short Line Road, Wapakoneta, OH  45895. The entire amount is due December 5.

An orientation meeting will be held prior to the end of the year.

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Food Pantry in Need of Supplies

You will notice that the food pantry shelves empty out quickly, especially after the third Saturday distribution takes place.  Out of our abundance, we need to meet the needs of others.  On a Sunday morning, open your cupboard door and pull out a can, box, jar of something and bring it in and place it on the table at the front of the sanctuary.  (Please check expiration dates before bringing in items.)  Thank you!

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This Week at St. John’s UCC

Tuesday, November 29– Ladies meet at LuLu’s, 9 a.m.;  TOPS, 6 p.m.

Wednes., Nov. 30–Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.; choir practice, 7 p.m.

Thurs., Dec. 1–Community meal at the Senior Center, 6 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 4–Communion served during worship; Barbara Plaugher and Mary Plaugher will present piano/organ duets during the 10:30 a.m. worship service

Upcoming Events

Sunday, December 11–Second Sunday potluck following the worship service

Sunday, December 18–Choir cantata, “Morning Star” by Lloyd Larson, presented during the 10:30 a.m. worship service

Saturday, December 24–Christmas Eve service with Holy Communion, 4 p.m.

 

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Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen

If you would like to volunteer for helping serve at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima on Tuesday, November 22,  please sign up on the bulletin board in the sanctuary.  Helpers are always welcome.

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Facebook Page

You are missing out on a super way to advertise our church if you are not sharing with many of your other Facebook friends St. John’s Facebook page.  There are many interesting articles posted every day.  “Friend” all of your friends and ask them to “Like” the St. John’s page–let’s let people know we are here, alive, and moving forward!

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St Johns Snow

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This website can now be found at www.blufftonstjohns.com!

In an effort to make this site easier for you to access, it can now be found at www.blufftonstjohns.com!  You can still find this page using the old web address, but now it will be easier to tell family and friends where they can find up-to-date news about St. John’s UCC in Bluffton, Ohio.

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